Tuesday, February 23, 2016

A Peek at a Saw-Whet Owl

Last Saturday, the Howard County Bird Club held an owl search in western Howard County. We were mainly looking for saw-whet owls, which hide in pine trees during the day at this time of year to escape the notice of Cooper's and sharp-shinned hawks. Searching for this species involved more looking at the ground rather than at the trees for owl pellets and "whitewash". One saw-whet was found by a sharp-eyed participant. I could only see it after following exacting descriptions of its situation in the tree given by other photographers. The bird is visible in the center of the top photo here which gives an idea of how hard it was to find and photograph it. The bottom photo is one of my better shots, albeit in the digital zoom range of my Canon SX60.

Friday, February 19, 2016

Centennial Lake Scenes with Ice Rescue Training

I stopped at Centennial Lake on Wednesday to see what migratory waterfowl might be around and found Howard County Fire and Rescue conducting ice rescue training.

 male canvasback and four male ring-necked ducks

One female bufflehead was in the open water at the west end of the lake. 


Ever-present Canada geese leave an abundant mess, which is an inconvenience to ice rescue crew members and photographers alike -- but we still like to photograph the geese.


Saturday, February 13, 2016

Sun Catchers

A sun-catcher creates a display of spectrum patterns in my sun room as the sun shines through it for a few minutes in the late afternoon. The sun-catcher was made by Robin Holliday of HorseSpirit Arts Gallery on Main Street in Ellicott City. Timing, duration and number of spectrum displays in a day depend on where you place your sun-catcher and the time of year.

Gracey is also a sun catcher.

Friday, February 12, 2016

Lost in the Stream -- A Surreal Scene and a Kingfisher

One of Lake Kittamaqundi's belted kingfishers was working the stream which flows down from Wilde Lake. I heard its repeated whirring call and could see it flying up and down above the stream, which still flows and offers the chance to catch some fish while the lakes are frozen. Taking advantage of the lack of undergrowth during the winter, I stepped off the paved path for a closer look, and I found some plastic debris in the stream. Notice the bottles in the left foreground above in addition to the toddler's toy car. Although the toy car in the middle of the flow offered the chance for a surreal photograph, I thought about the next flood washing more plastic into the lake and beyond. They have been fished out and recycled or placed where, perhaps, the owner of the car will find it.

Meanwhile, I managed a snapshot of the kingfisher through the trees, even as I stood on the path. That's the female, which sports the rusty red belt which gives the belted kingfisher its name. The male has a blazing white front with no belt.


Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Flying Saucers Arrive at Lake Kittamaqundi

This was the view of the lake and the Lakefront from the Whole Foods cafe this afternoon. A fleet of flying saucers is visible just to the left of the top of the red metal sculpture. A few saucers can be seen out of formation to the right of the sculpture's top.

Sunday, February 7, 2016

A Male House Finch is King for the Moment...

...while he sings from the top of the saucer magnolia in front of Oakland Manor. This is one of my photos taken during the Howard County Bird Club's Mid-Winter Count yesterday.

Thursday, February 4, 2016

~ playlist ~

On my CD player recently:

~ Rimsky-Korsakov's opera, "May Night" ("Mayskaya noch'"); USSR TV and Radio Soloists, Choir and Orchestra conducted by Fedoseyev. Melodiya recording from 1973, reissued in 2011.

~ Tchaikovsky's Symphony No. 1, nicknamed "Winter Dreams" or "Winter Daydreams"; Mariss Jansons conducts the Oslo Philharmonic on Chandos, 1985.

~ Sergey Taneyev's four symphonies on two Chandos albums (issued in 2002 and 2007) with Valeri Polyansky conducting the Russian State Symphony Orchestra.

~ Mozart's five violin concertos; the Belgian violinist, Arthur Grumiaux, and Sir Colin Davis conducting the London Symphony Orchestra. Recordings from the 1960's reissued in a 1993 Philips Duo set along with other works for violin, viola and orchestra; violist Arrigo Pellicia and the New Philharmonia conducted by Raymond Leppard.

~ Dimitri Tiomkin's music for the 1964 movie, "The Fall of the Roman Empire", with the composer conducting the Sinfonia of London. This is a 2012 compilation ("expanded original motion picture soundtrack") issued by Sony.

~ Franz Waxman's complete music for Hitchcock's 1940 "Rebecca"; Adriano conducts the Slovak Radio Symphony Orchestra on Naxos, 1990 and 1991.